“You’re Children are so Well Behaved!” Any parent who has heard this understands its weight in gold. It’s evidence that our parenting struggles are paying off. But what if you are one of those parents that get nervous when taking your children to any type of a quiet meeting?
It seems only moments upon your arrival or shortly before, your darling children have become deaf to your wishes and contracted amnesia at remembering anything to with age appropriate normal behavior including any manners you’ve taught them.
Here are some winning secrets that if practiced regularly will increase compliments like the one above.
1. Bring Snacks.
The best kind does not need refrigeration and isn’t crumbly. Good examples include: bananas, sliced apples, string cheese (you can get away with no refrigeration for a little while unless, you don’t feel comfortable risking it, better be safe than sorry, forget the string cheese!), crackers if you control how much your child eats at a time, cheerios, and juice in properly sealed sippy cups.
Bad examples include: handfuls of crackers, lunch meat, beef jerky, tuna fish, eggs, peanut butter.
Things to remember: You know your child and their eating habits. Plan accordingly. Other snacks work well. Just stay away from anything sticky, crumbly, food with strong odors or anything requiring a utensil.
2. Bring Activities.
This is more for younger children. Good examples include: color books, crayons, cards, flash cards, drawing pads and favorite cars.
Bad examples: Anything that makes noise
Things to remember: don’t be tempted to take too many activities as it will only end up in a big mess on the floor. This can be solved by allowing only one quiet activity at a time and making sure its put away before the next one begun.
3. Tell them What is Expected.
Again, this will be easier with older children. The point of explaining it to a toddler is that they do understand and by doing this regularly it instills a pattern of order. Good example: “We are going to (parent teacher conference, church, etc…) and I need you to be on your best behavior.”
Bad example: “You guys had better be good or it’s no movie after naptime! Got it?”
Things to remember: On this one it’s better to tell them things they can do verse what they can’t do. “If you need something, you can ask me quietly,” is better than, “Don’t talk to me unless you have to go potty.”
4. Be Consistent.
This is key. Expect the same types of behaviors at home. At lot of the times we don’t’ necessarily see how much we take our kids and home life for granted when it comes to a child’s habits or behaviors. It takes a concentrated effort to make sure they are using their manners, their indoor voices, etc…
5. Consider Time Slots.
If you can make the meeting just after breakfast, just after lunch, or just after naptime, you will have better chances of your kids staying under control. A little experimentation here can be helpful. If you can’t make it during your “ideal” times of day, then bring the fully stocked bag with anything you might need: snacks, activities, etc… Be consistent with your kid’s behaviors and be flexible on the rest.
Example: Enforce manners, quiet voice, respect, etc…but be flexible on your time if for potty breaks, missed naps, etc…You’ll find your day goes smoother.
6. Ask for Advice.
This can be done in prayer and or by asking other parents what have worked for them. Be open to any advice you receive. I’ve learned sometimes the hardest things to hear turned out to be the best solution for me and my family.
7. Don’t Bribe.
You will ruin your child by training them this way. They should learn to obey because it’s the right thing to do, not because they will get money or candy out of the deal.
Things to remember: Each child is different. Each household is different. Take what works from this article and leave the rest. Try different techniques at different times to see what works best for your home.
Of course, if you come up with other things, try them. By practicing these things on a regular basis and fine tuning as necessary, pretty soon you start getting more and more compliments on how well behaved your children are!